DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Outfielder Carl Crawford hasn't played in a game yet and is almost certain to begin the season on the disabled list, creating a temporary open roster spot for the first few weeks of the season.
Without Crawford, the Sox have only four outfielders set for the 25-man roster -- Jacoby Ellsbury, Ryan Sweeney, Cody Ross, and Darnell MCDonald.
But that spot might not necessarily go to a fifth outfielder while Crawford is on the DL.
"I haven't figured that out,'' said manager Bobby Valentine. "That roster spot could be a pitcher, it could be a utility (infielder), it could be an outfielder. It could conceivably be anything we wanted it be. Anything other than a starting pitcher.''
Among the utility players who might qualify: Pedro Ciriaco or Nate Spears. Both have brief major league experience.
Extra outfielders under consideration include Jason Repko or Josh Kroeger.
Any number of relievers could stick as the 13th pitcher on the staff as the club has yet to narrow down the candidates for the available bullpen spots.
"A lot of guys are doing real well,'' said Valentine. "I think when it comes down to about a week from today, we'll make a determination on how to start the season.''
Valentine said he would OK starting the season with four proven outfielders.
"It becomes kind of like the third catcher,'' he said. "If a couple of guys get hurt in one game and you get forced to play someone way out of position for a couple of innings? That's what it is, a couple of innings and the next day, you amend the roster. I'm not overly concerned with (not having a fifth outfielder).''